The arrival of four new movies in wide release wasn't a disaster for Men in Black II, which managed to escape destruction and hold on to the top spot at the weekend box office for a second week, zapping up $24.4 million, according to final studio figures Monday.
Snapping closest at the heels of the alien fighters and their pug were the hit men of Road to Perdition, the gritty gangster drama starring Tom Hanks and Paul Newman, which hauled in an impressive $22.1 million in second place.
In third place with a fairly scorching $15.6 million was the special-effects-laden dragon fantasy Reign of Fire.
Michael Myers' latest bloodbath in Halloween: Resurrection scared up $12.3 million in fourth place. And, crawling into sixth place, was the weekend's final major newcomer, The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course with $9.5 million.
MIBII, another of Sony's many number-one openers this year, managed to reach $132.7 million in just two weeks, becoming the seventh movie in 2002 to pass the coveted $100 million mark. However, the sequel to the phenomenally successful 1997 flick dropped off a steep 53 percent from last weekend, only averaging $6,760 per its 3,611 sites.
The R-rated Dreamworks release Road to Perdition opened with almost twice as much per screen, an average of $12,287 at 1,797 sites. The grim revenge saga produced by Richard Zanuck and directed by Sam Mendes (an Oscar winner for American Beauty) is already attracting awards buzz.
The same cannot be said for Reign of Fire, produced by Zanuck's wife, Lili Fini Zanuck (the couple were coproducers of the Oscar-winning Driving Miss Daisy). The PG-13-rated Buena Vista sci-fi adventure, starring a hunked up Matthew McConaughey as the giant reptiles' most virulent foe, averaged $5,946 at 2,629 sites.
Halloween: Resurrection, the eighth installment of the low-budget slasher franchise, snuck into 1,954 sites and averaged $6,291 per screen for distributor Dimension.
Crocodile Hunter, MGM's PG-rated off-road trip featuring Aussie wildlife chaser Steve Irwin, averaged only $3,777 at 2,525 sites. The struggling MGM had been hoping the film, which earned solid notices, would be a big moneymaker.
There was some good news for Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg: Their Minority Report is up to $110.1 million after four weeks, making it the eighth movie in 2002 to pass $100 million. The sci-fi flick came in ninth place with $7.2 million for the weeknd.
Two other films are also on track to hit $100 million soon: Adam Sandler's Mr. Deeds, which has grossed $94 million in three weeks, and Matt Damon's secret-agent thriller The Bourne Identity, which has pulled in $99 million in five weeks.
Overall, box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations reports the combined weekend gross was upwards of $130 million, off 1.4 percent from last week, but still a gain of nearly 20 percent from the same time last year.
Here's the rundown of the weekend top 10:
1. Men in Black II, $24.4 million
2. Road to Perdition, $22.1 million
3. Reign of Fire, $15.6 million
4. Halloween Resurrection, $12.3 million
5. Mr. Deeds, $10.8 million
6. Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, $9.5 million
7. Lilo & Stitch, $8 million
8. Like Mike, $7.8 million
9. Minority Report, $7.2 million
10. The Bourne Identity, $5.8 million
(Originally published 7/14/02 at 2:50 p.m. PT.)